Residents in the Carolinas and Virginia are bracing for Hurricane Florence — here's what it looks like on the ground

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesPlywood covers the windows of the Lager Heads Tavern as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Florence on September 11, 2018 in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

After evacuations were ordered in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, residents have been bracing themselves as Hurricane Florence moves closer to making landfall Thursday night with what experts warned would be “catastrophic” wind and rain.

Governors from the three states in the storm’s path issued harsh warnings for citizens to evacuate immediately, causing a harried scene among stores and communities to prepare for the possibly devastating storm.

Here’s what it looks like on the ground:

Hurricane Florence has been showering the Carolinas and Virginia with rain all week.

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesA jogger runs past a lifeguard stand as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Source: Business Insider

Some citizens weathered the storm’s initial signs early in the week with ease, but reports and warnings from public officials eventually painted an increasingly dangerous picture.

Coastal counties in Virginia, South and North Carolina were all under mandatory evacuation orders by Tuesday.

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After urging from state officials in Sunday and Monday press conferences, citizens in coastal communities of the Carolinas sought precautionary measures.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesHome Depot employee Ken Murphy helps Joe Spielman load plywood in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Vulnerable residents got plywood and sand bags to protect their properties, like these North Carolina residents who gathered sand from the beach Tuesday morning.

Source: NBC

Residents also set out for other supplies, including water …

… and propane.

Randall HillCustomers line up outside Socastee Hardware store in Myrtle Beach.

Source: NBC

The rush to prepare with basic supplies left stores’ shelves bare.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesA store’s bread shelves are bare in Myrtle Beach.

South Carolina Highway Patrol was on hand to direct traffic along the major roadways Gov. Henry McMaster announced would have reversed lanes to guide traffic away from the coast and assist the mass exodus.

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Some South Carolina landmarks, like the Surfside Beach Pier, still show signs of damage from 2016’s Hurricane Matthew. McMaster warned Florence’s water damage could surpass that storm.

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Airmen from South Carolina’s National Guard helped with the preparations — just a few of the 1,600 soldiers and airmen who were mobilized to assist with the storm.

Source: National Guard

Some members of coastal communities in the Carolinas moved into shelters after evacuating Tuesday to wait out the storm for the rest of the week.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

As the storm got closer to making landfall, coastal Virginia residents ramped up their preparations on Wednesday.

Source: Washington Post

Though Hurricane Florence’s decreased wind speeds earned it a downgrade to Category 2 storm Thursday morning, the National Weather Service warned it was no less intense, since the “catastrophic” rain and floods pose the greatest threat.

NASA via Getty Images

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As of Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said the storm is increasing in size, and could travel the 170 miles to North Carolina’s coast by Thursday night.

National Hurricane CenterThe predicted path of the center of Hurricane Florence from Thursday to Tuesday.

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Livestreams of the conditions off North Carolina’s coast show the storm is already starting to thrash the coast on Thursday morning.

Youtube/Explore Oceans

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Read our full coverage on Hurricane Florence:

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